by Andy Cohen/ The Politics of Football
Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice on Tuesday announced their intentions to file suit against the State of Arizona and Governor Jan Brewer over SB 1070 that Brewer signed into law in April. “Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility. Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves,” Holder cited as among the many reasons to overturn the state law.
But SB 1070 isn’t just a bad law; it’s a racist law with distinctly racist roots. SB 1070 was written and promoted with an enormous helping hand from FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), an anti-immigration lobbying organization with a far right-wing agenda that has been deemed an immigration hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
There is also a San Diego twist to SB 1070: The notoriously anti-immigration Congressman, Brian Bilbray, prior to being elected to succeed Duke Cunningham in Congress in 2006, was a proud lobbyist for FAIR, and currently sits on the board of advisors for the organization. Bilbray is intimately familiar with FAIR’s stance on immigration issues, and is an ardent and wholehearted supporter of their efforts.
“The Rachel Maddow Show” recently did a great piece on FAIR, John Tanton, and how they all tie in with the Arizona anti-immigrant law. This the group Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) really works for:
As pointed out in the Maddow piece, FAIR was founded by known racist John Tanton. The group counts among its major benefactors the Pioneer Fund, which has contributed $1.2 million to fund FAIR’s efforts.
The Pioneer Fund is a group founded in 1937. Of its main purposes upon its founding was to continue the work of Nazi eugenicists and their ongoing efforts to prove the genetic superiority of white people. At the time, the Pioneer Fund was primarily concerned with proving white genetic superiority over blacks. The original incorporation documents of the Pioneer Fund lists as one of its two primary purposes as “encouraging the propagation of those “descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States and/or from related stocks, or to classes of children, the majority of whom are deemed to be so descended.
The second purpose was to support academic research and the “dissemination of information, into the ‘problem of heredity and eugenics’” and “the problems of race betterment.”
FAIR has its tentacles all over the anti-immigration bill signed into law in April by Arizona governor Jan Brewer. The bill’s main sponsor, State Senator Russell Pearce, enlisted the help of attorney Kris Kobach to write the specific language of the bill. Kobach is the legal counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of FAIR.
“Nativist Attorney” Kobach has also been retained since October 2009 by notorious Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to train the Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff’s Office in immigration matters to the tune of $300 per hour, plus a $1500 monthly retainer, plus expenses. That is, of course, at taxpayers’ expense–Kobach’s contract, according to The Phoenix New Times, is being paid out of Maricopa County’s RICO fund, the federal money allocated to the county to combat organized crime and racketeering activities.
Kobach is also a law professor at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law, and is a candidate for Secretary of State in Kansas. He failed at his previous attempt to win a public office as a candidate for Congress in Kansas’ 3rd District, a Republican stronghold, in 2004 because “in general, he was accused of taking money from a white supremacist organization, and the charge stuck.” (Kobach is, of course, a Republican.)
Russell Pearce–the man who enlisted Kobach’s help in writing the bill–himself has some dubious ties. In 2006 he sent an e-mail to supporters containing an article entitled “Who Rules America? The Alien Grip on our News and Entertainment Media Must Be Broken,” and a link to the article’s sponsor, the National Alliance, a white supremacist group. Pearce subsequently sent an apology e-mail, claiming that he had not read the article (which decried the “Jewish Holocaust tale” among other anti-Semitic and racist charges), and that he does not share the group’s neo-Nazi views.
More recently, however, Pearce has been photographed and attended rallies with neo-Nazi leader J.T. Ready:
That’s Ready on the left, Pearce on the right. That photo was taken at an anti-immigrant rally put on by the White Knights of America, a neo-Nazi, white supremacist hate group (and who presumably took their name from Mississippi’s White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan).
Pearce and Ready go back at least a few years. Pearce was an honored guest at a 2007 anti-immigration rally sponsored by Ready and his neo-Nazi pals at the Arizona State Capital (that’s Ready singing the praises of Pearce toward the beginning of the video.):
The forces behind the anti-immigrant bill SB 1070 can be traced directly back to FAIR. In addition to the sanctioning of racial profiling, the law provides that state agencies can be sued by any citizen for not doing enough to enforce the state’s immigration laws (as well as being too overzealous, opening state agencies to a myriad of civil rights lawsuits). And according to the research of Rachel Maddow’s crack staff, there is a provision written into the law that states that any individual or organization that brings such a suit and wins (and FAIR makes much of its money by such lawsuits) is entitled by law to recover court costs and attorney’s fees from the state.
These are the driving influences behind the anti-immigration efforts in Arizona and across the United States. These are the causes championed by Rep. Brian Bilbray. These are the people he associates with (remember, Bilbray was a paid lobbyist for FAIR prior to being elected to represent the CA 50th, and currently serves on the group’s Board of Advisors).
It is frightening to think that the Nazi movement is alive and well and so deeply rooted here in the U.S. It’s even more frightening to find that our elected officials–the people who are charged with protecting the rights of all citizens, white and non-white alike–are so closely tied to such extremist organizations.
Jeremy Gilbert contributed to this story.